Champion sheep flock delighted with success of Zwartbles

Editorial Department • Published 5 May 2011 13:00 Print Comments 0 Comments

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Mary Cashel with her prize winning sheep.

One of the county’s newest sheep breeds has given local breeders cause for celebration.

Because the Hillview flock of Mary and Dean Cashel, of Ballinamallard, has just been judged the champion flock in Ireland.

The Irish Branch of the Zwartbles Sheep Association rounded off its year with the annual Flock Competition. This year’s competition was judged by well known sheep breeder, Roy Graham from Dromara, Co Down. He was very impressed with the overall standard of the flocks on view and stated that this made choosing winners very difficult. However, he chose his champion flock from the Hillview flock of mother and son team Mary and Dean Cashel from Ballinamallard.

According to the Association, this year saw an increase in the number of flocks entering the competition with flocks ranging from Co. Tyrone to Co. Kilkenny. Roy presented the winning flock owners with the Kee Perpetual Cup at an evening function for the Irish members at the Gil Good Lodge.

A spokesman said, “It is very encouraging to note that numbers of Zwartbles sheep in Ireland continues to increase and there is now in excess of 60 registered pedigree flocks. Most agricultural shows hold classes for Zwartbles and this continues to be a great ‘shop-window’ for promoting the breed.

The Cashels established their flock of Zwartbles around seven years ago and have a small flock of up to a dozen pedigree ewes.

They will not be entering Balmoral Show but plan to exhibit the sheep at this year’s Omagh and Clogher Valley Shows.

The breed originates from the Friesland region of north Holland and are hardy yet producing good quality meat and wool. They are coloured black with a distinctive white facial blaze.

The breed is noted for its easy lambing, prolific milk ewes, excellent mothers, fast growth rate and naturally tame.

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